November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Mighty Corp. to file rejoinder on multi-billion tax evasion complaint

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) yesterday continued its preliminary investigation proceedings in the multi-billion tax evasion case against embattled local tobacco firm Mighty Corp.

During the hearing, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a reply-affidavit, rebutting the counter-affidavits of Mighty Corp.’s executives. However, no copy of BIR’s reply-affidavit was given to reporters. A copy of the Mighty Corp.’s counter-affidavit, likewise, was not given to reporters.

The DoJ has set the rejoinder hearing on May 30. The rejoinder will allow the respondents, officials of Mighty Corp., to rebut the BIR’s reply-affidavit.

On May 11, Mighty Corp. President, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Edilberto Adan filed his counter-affidavit.

Other respondents in the case, Alexander Wongchuking, Mighty Corp. owner and vice-president for external affairs; retired Judge Oscar Barrientos, Executive Vice-President; and Ernesto Victa, company treasurer, have filed their answers to the complaint filed by the BIR.

To recall, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed a P9.56 billion tax-evasion complaint against Mighty Corp. last March 22.

More than a month after, the BIR slapped Mighty Corp. with another tax-evasion case of P26.93 billion. The new complaint brings Mighty Corp.’s alleged total tax liability to P36.49 billion -- the largest tax-evasion case under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II had said the DoJ is considering the consolidation of the two tax-evasion complaints, to be handled by a three-member panel organized earlier by the Department. Heading the panel is Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Sebastian Caponong, Jr. The other members are Assistant State Prosecutors Ma. Lourdes Uy and Mary Ann Parong.

However, Ms. Uy said yesterday the panel of state prosecutors has yet to receive an order from Mr. Aguirre.